Part 1 – Energy Misuse Starts With School!

By Stanley Ravi, POI member

(Editor’s Note: Stanley Ravi got interested in Peak Oil when he attended a conference on the subject in 2004 in Bangalore. Since then, he has been involved with several Peak Oil and Transition related initiatives, including an attempt to set up one of the first Transition Town experiments in the country. This is the first installment in a series of articles in which he will recount his journey.)

I was born in a lower to middle income family in Bangalore in 1967. My parents put me in to schools they could hardly or just about afford. I learnt good English.

I didn’t like schooling, and found it a total waste of time and energy. Here’s one valid reason to believe and prove that schooling is a huge waste of life and energy just to learn: Learning is so mediocre and drab when compared to Mastery, and every form of life is capable of mastery. But more on that later.

It is also an example of wasting energy. Let’s make a simple calculation: Carrying 100 pages x 10 books x 200 days x 10 crore children x 5 kms x 2 directions x 10 years – only to write on 10 pages max. See what I mean?

After I started working, I came to hate 3 other things:
– Government jobs
– Military jobs (‘Defense’ is actually Threat and Offence)
– Jobs in the Gulf

In between, I had got married. And when I got married, I started to work for money. The need for money grew, so I applied for a job in the Gulf for a technical writer’s post. It turned out to be very lucrative, and my employers liked me very much. But there was a problem: it was a government, military job in the Gulf!

I had prospects to continue, but I quit in 2 years and came back to Bangalore, because it was the year 2000, and Sabeer (Bhatia), my classmate at St. Joseph’s Boys High School, Bangalore, had just sold to Bill (Gates) for 400 million USD. I too had a similar dream: I wanted to bring SkyTran Maglev Personal Rapid Transport to Bangalore.

It was by accident that one day, I walked into a Reva (the electric carmaker since bought over by Mahindra) showroom and got invited to what was perhaps one of the first seminars on Peak Oil in India. Organised by the US-based Post Carbon Institute, one of the world’s leading authorities on the subject, it was titled “When the Gushing Stops.” Vasanth Rajendran, an academic who spearheaded the conference, also screened a documentary, The End of Suburbia, which dramatized the prospect of Peak Oil in a powerful way.

My exposure to Peak Oil made me realise a few things:
– We are approaching the ‘Limits to Growth’
– Growth is dead
– Oil will be gone
– The world is going to come to a grinding halt.

At the time I didn’t know it, but it was the beginning of a journey that has lasted 14 years so far.

(… to be continued)